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Agenda and minutes

Members Consultation Advisory Group
Thursday, 1st December, 2005 9.30 a.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham

No. Item


Minutes of meeting held on 21st July, 2005 pdf icon PDF 18 KB


Agreed:-  That the minutes of the meeting held on 21st July, 2005, be agreed as a true record.


Consultation Position Statement pdf icon PDF 30 KB

- report attached - Dawn Price, Consultation Officer


Dawn Price, Consultation Officer, presented the Council’s Consultation Position Statement document which had been considered by the Corporate Management Team and the Cabinet.


The Statement examined the Council’s consultation structures and approaches and made recommendations on how they could be refined and enhanced.  It was based on a thorough examination of national and local policies and trends; statistically and performance data; findings from surveys and inspections and ‘best practice’ from other local authorities and agencies notably the Audit Commission.


There was no nationally agreed or commonly used definition of consultation.  Rotherham’s Consultation Strategy defined consultation as a “2 way process where views were actively sought and considered before decisions or plans were made”.  Consultation had become an integral part of local and national government policy making process.  There was a clear relationship between good consultation and effective delivery and high satisfaction with services.


The Statement outlined the policy context in terms of the legal, general and specific requirements, Rotherham’s approach and how well it was doing and the way forward.


There appeared to be a lack of consistency in the quality and quantity of consultation and gaps in reaching some areas of the community.  3 consultancies had been shortlisted for the development of Rotherham Reachout.        


Discussion ensued on the Statement.  The following general points were made:-


-                    The Reachout Panel needed to be refreshed by at least 1/3 every year as required by good practice.

-                    Dependent upon the question, sometimes there was a better response from a particular age group.  Generally, the questions were aimed at everybody with the aim of getting a response from all age groups.

-                    If a specific or more detailed perspective was required on a specific issue, there were other routes such as the Youth Cabinet and other Young Peoples’ groups.

-                    The Authority had to strengthen its mechanisms for feeding back to communities/groups when consultation hd taken place.  One way was a consultation newsletter.


At the moment the building blocks were being put into place i.e. good practice, Council Policies on consultation, why consultation was required, how it was expected the results would be shared, how it would be fed back to the communities.  An Annual Plan, showing what major consultation was to take place in the year, together with the Annual Review, showing what had taken place the previous year, would hopefully avoid over-consultation in one area and show if there was need for it at all. 


Agreed:-  That the report be noted.


Annual Review/Annual Plan of Consultation

- report at the meeting by Dawn Price, Consultation Officer


Dawn Price, Consultation Officer, reported that information was still being received from Programme Areas for the Annual Review but will be closed and sent to CMT in the next two weeks. 


The Review was made up of all the consultation that had taken place during the 2004/05 financial year.  It identified Lead Officers and overall the outcome of the consultations undertaken in the Authority.


Agreed:-   That a copy be sent to Members of the Group.


Consultation and Community Involvement Framework pdf icon PDF 138 KB

- report attached - Andy Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager


Andy Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager, and Dawn Price, Corporate Consultation Officer, presented a report suggesting that the Council’s existing Policies around Consultation and Community Involvement be refreshed to address some of the issues of why the Authority needed to consult and involve communities.


Consultation needed to be representative of all the groups of the community, particularly those that were traditionally hard to reach, a clear purpose of why the consultation was needed and ensure that there were mechanisms to feedback to those consulted.


The new Policy was at draft stage currently and was accompanied by an action plan.


Agreed:-  That the draft document be submitted to the next meeting of this Group


Quality of Life Survey

- report at the meeting by Andrew Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager


Andy Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager, reported that it was being suggested that an annual Quality of Life Survey be conducted throughout the Borough which would give an idea of peoples’ priorities and how things were changing.  The results would be available to communities.


The questions would be phrased in a very broad manner in an endeavour not to raise people’s expectations and would ask them what they were satisfied/not satisfied with.  It would also be made clear that, although it was prepared in conjunction with partners, the Council would not be responsible for all the issues.


Agreed:-  That the report be noted.


Reachout 13 - Progress

- report at the meeting by Dawn Price, Consultation Officer


Dawn Price, Consultation Officer, reported that the results from Reachout 13 were expected the week beginning 12th December and Area Assembly reports thereafter.


Agreed:-  That a copy be supplied to all Members of this Group when received.


Budget Consultation

- report at the meeting by Andrew Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager


Andy Towlerton, Policy and Research Manager, reported that consideration was being given to consulting on the budget process which, traditionally, had not happened before.


Increasingly the Government was keen for local authorities to carry out such consultation and there were a number of different approaches being adopted.  It was being suggested that the results from the Qualify of Life survey be used to help the process. 


As yet, no decision had been taken as to the process to be used.


Agreed:-  That the report be noted.


Any Other Business


A number of Rotherham schools had School Councils but it was not known if there was a feedback system into the Council.  It could be used as a way of consulting with young people.


Agreed:-  That Andy Towlerton check with the relevant Department as to whether there is a feedback mechanism and report to the next meeting.


Date of next meeting

- to be agreed


Agreed:-  That a meeting be held in February, 2006, the date to be notified.